Hungarian Parliament to curtail freedom of information legislation
Two Fidesz-party members of the Hungarian Parliament handed in a draft bill yesterday aiming to restrict existing freedom of information legislation by limiting bulk access to public data for two government bodies, the State Audit Office (ÁSZ) and the Government Control Office (KEHI). The draft bill allows public institutions to deny FOIA requests if they are asking for “too much” data, without exactly defining what would be considered as an “excessive freedom of information request”. Atlatszo.hu assumes that the draft bill was partly inspired by the FOIA requests filed by our journalists or through our public freedom of information request service KiMitTud. Hungarian Parliament is going to vote on the bill in “extreme urgency” tomorrow, without any public reconciliation on the matter. Atlatszo.hu is launching a campaign against the proposed draft, because in it’s present form it would clearly restrict the current Hungarian freedom of information act (2011/CXII). At the same time, multiple hungarian NGOs, including atlatszo.hu filed FOIA requests asking for documents about the recent government tender on tobacco shops, a concession which was won in suspiciously large numbers by applicants close to the governing party and it’s politicians.